I am working from home today. I am here in front of my computer, the cat sleeping on my lap, purring away like a coffee machine, a smiley blue sky outside. It is one of those days in Rome where you can smell spring in the air. The quality of the light, the warm temperature, the first buds on trees deceive your brain and heart, making you believe that spring is just around the corner. Part of me is hoping for another two months of cold weather, I am not sure I can resist until the summer with this glorious sun, my mind gets into a dangerous excited and playful mood that makes concentrating a hard task.
You all know I lovede Gournay, a collection of hand painted Chinoiserie wallpapers calledThe Colony designed exclusively for the newly renovated Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.
This large scale scenic mural comes from the collaboration with the French maison with Colony owner Sarah Wetenhall and de Gournay and inspired by the original mid-century mural that adorned the hotel lobby when it first opened in 1947.
The joyful wallpaper depicting flamingos, monkeys, alligators, panthers and luxurious fauna and the furniture picked by Kemble Interiors perfectly combine, achieving a look that it is at the same time colonial, feminine, humorous and tropical.
Photography by Carmel Brantley, courtesy de Gournay.
There are some books that have the power to ignite awareness. When you finish reading them, a seed has been planted and a new awareness has been introduced . These books become part of what you ultimately are.
At the moment I am reading “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. I don’t know yet if it is going to be part of the books that make me but I can tell you that it has already given me food for thought.
Deep work is what we do when we focus and concentrate for a stretch of time. It is quality, on-task work produced in a state of total focus. It is what artisans do all the time: they devout their attention to what they are creating, every step is important, every distraction could compromise the final result. It is what Alfhild Külper does when she makes her beautiful wool creations. With a busy, frenetic job as a head of design at a luxury fashion house, Alfhid was looking forward to engage in something more hands on and felt the urge to make something intricate and soft.
She has started creating beautiful, hand knotted rugs inspired by nature. Each piece require many hours of patient attention, many hours of deep work.
Alfhid Külper rugs are pieces that last forever, that combine tactile and visual emotions.
The Wabi Sabi Apartment by Ukrainian architectSergey Makhnopresents so many layers of interpretation that focusing on the fact that the project brings together Japanese aesthetics and Ukrainian traditions seems to be reductive. The penthouse in Kiev, designed for the architect’s family, puts together successfully earthy elements (branches, clay walls), industrial features (concrete ceilings, a grey stern kitchen, a metal bed), natural details (the vertical garden, the bonsai plants), more decorative choices (the green in the kids bedroom, the back and white tiles in one of the bathroom) and numerous interesting pieces of furniture.
Wabi Sabi Apartment is very masculine, very zen and very original at the same time; it is very urban and very Japanese but full of Ukrainian artistic taste’s references.
I love September. I love its golden light that enhances colors and shapes, I love the clear sky and the cooler evenings. I love the sensation of calm and regeneration that I carry after the holiday, the positive attitude and hopeful vibe that my contact with nature has left me with a slower pace after the summer months. I relish the fact that September is the end of the summer in Italy and yet is not quite the start of the cold season unlike many other countries in the Northern hemisphere. I like the nostalgic feeling that is floating on the air and the proximity of another holiday, Christmas.
I love spending time by the sea in September and in the autumn in general: contemplating the immense blue sea when most of the tourists have departed is for me a treat that not many get to revel in.
Of course, it is even better if you can do it in a charming place, with a lot of personality and an attractive views. Hotel La Minervetta in Sorrento is the perfect retreat for my September mood. I love how it has been decorated with marine colours and patterns and a well-balanced combination of local artisan pieces and eclectic art and photography. This explosive and color combination makes the hotel unique and snug.
Stripes, chevron, checks, pois and classic tiles patterns decorate walls, floors, chairs, sun longes and beds; the use of mainly two colours, red and blue, makes the look cohesive.
I love the liquid floor tiles in the living area, it makes the space look like it is floating on water. I love the extensive, worldly collection of objects and furniture, it all combines to create a marine, joyful contest that celebrates the beauty of the Costiera Amalfitana where the Hotel La Minervetta is based.
Photos by Bernard Touillon, courtesy of Hotel La Minervetta
A few weeks ago we spoke about the Tommaso Spinzi Design collection Origini and about how much Tommaso’s design work is directly influenced by his experiences and passions. Origini is a collection inspired by the rediscovery of his city: Tommaso recently moved back to Milan having spent a few years working as an interior and furniture designer in Switzerland, Australia and New York. It seems he has returned brimming with energy and numerous new projects up his sleeve.
Last week Spinzi Design has presented three collections live –Lamè, Planar and Meccano-at the Digital Design Week for the Fuorisalone (from 15th to 21th June, the digital version of the Furniture Show that couldn’t take place because of Covid-19).
His designs are limited edition, made with a number of different materials but they are all very sculptural. Palladium, for instance, the stool and occasional table that you can see pictured below, is a very graceful intercourse of a straight and curved line, of a steel rectangle or disk and a steel stripe. It is one of my favourite Spinzi designs for its understated elegance and its versatility.
I have known Kate Wesson for a few years now. We have spent some lovely weekends in Rome together walking around and eating delicious food. Kate is a keen food explorer, a curious eater and passionate about all things related to food and its presentation . It is not a coincidence that she has had so much success working as a food stylist and food writer, she boasts a long list of brands and agencies that she has collaborated with. I love Kate’s instagram because it shows her passion for beautiful food. She posts images of what she cooks on a daily basis; her Instagram makes you salivate! Her style is honest and attractive, as food should always be.I recently asked Kate a few questions about her work and how to make this lockdown more yummy.
When did you decide to become a food stylist ?
“I made the transition from chef to food stylist fairly early on in my career at the age of 25. Working in the food industry back in the early 2000’s the hours were long poorly paid and tough. I had always enjoyed the visuals of food as much as creating something that tastes amazing. I love the different visual texture and colour combinations you can create and I recognised that the plating of dishes was often where I felt I was able to express myself the most.”
What’s been your most interesting jobs as a food stylist?
“As a very small scale micro influencer I was flown out to the Italian island of Pantelleria to document the food and culture of this beautiful place to help promote the film A Bigger Splash starring Tilde Swinton and Ralf Finns that was set on the island. I had 2 great guides who took me around and we visited the local producers, made fresh ricotta and visited the terraces where the famous pantelleria capers are grown. The island was quiet as we were out of season so we had some restaurants opening especially for us serving some delicious local dish’s cooked only for us. I loved hearing the story of how certain dishes have come about and meeting the producers who have such a passion and finding a way of documenting this through a series of images was a career highlight.”
How do you find cooking these days without being able to pop to the shops whenever you want to get ingredients?
“I’ve always been a creative cook but the current situation has really pushed me creatively to try new combinations out and I am often substituting ingredients with success (but not always!) sometimes I’ve had some real wins. The main ingredient that seems to be difficult/ near impossible to get hold of is wheat flour, it seems the only flour often left on the shelf is buckwheat and I have enjoyed using this although I am missing making pasta as I’ve run out of 00 flour now.
I have never liked food waste and recently I seemed to have stepped this up a gear too and I don’t seem to waste a single scrap any more. All stems, cores and cheese rinds are kept in a big tub in the freezer and when amassed made into stocks perhaps with a chicken carcass or left over bone from the freezer. Left over chicken skin from a Sunday roast is rendered off for its fat and the left over crispy skin is used to top a ramen or crumbled into a salad. Any peelings like potato, carrot or artichoke are crisped in olive oil and salt and eaten as a snack. This morning I found 3 bruised overly soft pears in the fruit bowl normally I would have thrown them out but instead I whizzed them up in my blender with some maple syrup, mixed spice and melted coconut oil and used this mixed to make delicious granola by mixing it with some oats, whole nuts and seeds and some chopped stem ginger. I love this new found thrifty behaviour and it seems to be spreading I hope when this is all over its something we all still manage to keep hold of.
Ive also been foraging outside when I’m out for our daily 1 hour of exercise at the moment I can pick up nettle tops, wild garlic and wisteria.”
Can you recommend interesting places to shop online for interesting table ware?
“As stylists we often go to the London prop houses to source and hire tableware/linens background surfaces and all things food related these places are like an Aldines cave full of treasures. When shopping for home or an extra special piece for a photo shoot :Kana Ana, David Mellor, La Tuile a Loup, Texit Vicens, Volga Linenare a few of my favourite places to source from.”
What’s your favourite cuisine?
“I love to explore many different cuisines, food in the UK is very encompassing and London has some amazing restaurants from all around the globe. I find my taste change all the time, we are loving south American food at the moment ceviche and tacos have been something we have cooked a lot recently. I am also enjoying fermenting vegetables and experimenting with this technique which is handy to keep foods for longer during the lock done days.”
All photographs are taken and styled and all the food prepared by Kate Wesson, as the amazing Japanese Okonomiyaki Pancakes Recipe is that you can find below.
KATE’S LOCK DOWN JAPANESE OKONOMIYAKI PANCAKES RECIPE
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g Finely shredded Chinese cabbage
A handful of finely shredded kale
A handful of shredded left over- chicken, chopped ham or grated cheddar cheese
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
70g finely chopped kimchi or sauerkraut or other fermented vegetable
sunflower/rapeseed or groundnut oil
4 tablespoons of okonomiyaki sauce or make your own by mixing together the following: 2 tbsp. Ketchup ,1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce ,1 tbsp. Honey, 1 tsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp. of mayonnaise, ideally from a squeezy bottle.
Extra optional toppings:
A tbsp. of toasted sesame seeds/ black or white or both
Finely sliced spring onion
1 tbsp. pickled ginger
sprinkle of chopped chilly
1 tbsp. siracha hot sauce
A sprinkle of Bonito flakes
A sprinkle of finely shredded nori seaweed
A handful of chopped herbs such as chives or coriander
Place the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Crack the eggs into the bowl and whisk in with 150ml of water until you have a smooth batter.
Stir in the remaining ingredients, don’t be afraid to substitute with what you have left over as ingredients are very interchangeable but always making sure you include the cabbage.
Heat a tbsp. of oil in a medium sized non-stick frying pan over a medium heat; spoon in half the batter to make 2 large pancakes and cook until golden, carefully flipping to cook the reverse side and repeating the process with the remaining batter. Alternatively you can make several smaller ones by spooning in the batter and cooking in batches.
When the pancakes are cooked on both sides, brush the top with a little of the okonomiyaki sauce until lightly glazed. Slide the pancakes onto plates and drizzle with the mayonnaise and a little more of the okonomiyaki sauce, sprinkle over the optional extra toppings and devour!
I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that the background of +DECO homepage was drawn by me. Since I was a kid, I have enjoyed filling pages and pages of scribbles and doodles, mini forms that interlock and form patterns. The inspiration came from my cousin who used to write beautiful notes to me, with elegant hand-writing and similar patterns to those on my homepage.
JasonChambers plays with shapes as well but in a more complex way. His world is clearly inspired by Picasso, by Surrealism but also by Cubism; it reveals many surprises. His drawings are fun and dreamy at the same time, they are an expression of a stream of consciousness, almost made by an inevitable necessity from the pen. If you look properly, between the interlinking of shapes and lines, eyes appear (many eyes), faces, mouths, letters, birds, butterflies, flowers, ears and limbs.
I hope that soon someone will ask Jason Chambers to do a massive mural in a city, it would look incredible and different and it would be a perfect-fit because his drawings represent the tingling city existence so well, which is a bit surreal and a bit ironic.
Poor my eyes: most of the time indoor and in front of a screen for hours every day. They fell so dry, I feel so sorry for them that publishing Lover’s Eye collection by ArtefactoMadrid seems to me an original and fun way to apologize.
The Argentinian Santi Carbonari and Franco Donati source antique and vintage porcelain, restore it and “and stamp with (the) new designs through a careful process of high temperature vitrified. They have many collections of plates with different subjects but they are all fun and pop and original.
The decorations of the support of the antique or vintage porcelain complement and create a funky contrast with the fantastic and detailed prints representing tropical worlds, lunar places, collage beings, cartoon heroes and much more.
I wanted to publish at least other twenty plates!
ArtefactoMadrid sells also prints, lights, t-shirts and glass objects.
The level of detail of the antique porcelain together with the quality and complexity of the prints makes these decorative plates pop and captivating.
For more porcelain on +DECO, use the search on the website or click here.
And just like that, traveling has become a distant memory, if not impossible. All of a sudden, borders have been closed and our immediate area where we live has became our whole world. Who knows how long for it will be that we won’t be able to take a plane, a train or a boat on a whim, not for work, pleasure or to explore, no matter how big the urge to escape is, no matter how much we want to visit a loved one.
What I like about blogging is that it allows me to make people travel from their desks to somewhere they might not imagine themselves going to, to inspire curiosity, to show readers new exciting things and places.
Galerie Jag is where curator Jessica Barouch displays a carefully selected collection of objects and furniture by artists from all over the world.
The space is a cosy apartment in the 7th Arrondissement, displaying wonderful attention to detail and “beautify” (a word Jessica uses and that I love) by displaying numerous sculptural pieces that are a part of Galerie Jag’s collection.
Colors and materials play an important role in unifying all the artistic elements: warm white, black backgrounds, wood, earthy and mellow hues.
The incredible Yves Saint Laurent Museum (incredible should be inseparable part of the name) is one of those pieces of architecture that just sits perfectly in the location where it was built and looks like it has always been there even if it has a very contemporary feeling.
I have a thing for bricks, especially red bricks. It might be because I grew up in Rome, among the Roman ruins and fascist architecture that used bricks frequently. Recently I developed a soft spot for traditional grey Chinese bricks as well, often used by the beautiful architecture firm Neri & Hu.
The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech was designed by Studio KO on a plot of land close to the Jardin Majorelle; it covers an area of 3,908 square metres and hosts 2 exhibitions, has an auditorium, a library, a coffee shop, a restaurant and a bookshop. It was commissioned by Pierre Bergé, who recently died, in memory of his partner, the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
The architecture perfectly balances volumes and sinuous curves, different materials like the concrete of the reinforced structure, red brick made from industrial clay, the natural terracotta with a base in pre-cast terrazza of the outside facing and golden details.
Studio KO, founded by architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, hasn’t left anything to chance. The interiors are sublime. Bricks are used for patterns on the outdoor shell like wood is used to design patterns in the interiors.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is an example of elegance, a happy combination of forms and colors, the perfect homage to a master of fashion and a genius creative mind. It is no doubt one of my favourite pieces of architecture from last few years.